With no offer equivalent, prospect of trade involving Miami icon a nonstarter
By Richard Justice
You do not trade a player like Giancarlo Stanton. You just don't. You don't even consider it. That's an option the Miami Marlins should take off the table regardless of who owns the franchise.
Instead, you do exactly the opposite. You build around him. Around his talent. Around his personality and his presence. You build around the credibility he has accumulated during eight seasons in South Florida.
You tell your fans that Stanton represents everything the Marlins would like to be in the years ahead. If Derek Jeter is indeed part of the ownership group that has agreed to purchase the Marlins, as is expected, his track record in the game tells us he'll likely to get this. For him, it would likely be a no-brainer.
Many great players tend to see the world through the same lens. They recognize greatness in others and understand how difficult it is to achieve and maintain. They also get how important it is to have someone this dynamic and this gifted on your baseball team.
The Marlins have some work to do in terms of building a competitive team and in re-energizing their fans for a new era of Marlins baseball. There are two places to start.
First, Marlins Park is as beautiful a place to watch a baseball game as there is in the Majors. Second, there's Stanton, one of the best and most entertaining players in the sport.
Stanton is reminding us of this a lot lately. He hammered his 44th home run in Tuesday night's 9-4 Giants win over the Marlins, and he has a legitimate shot to become the sixth player in big league history to hit 60 in a season. Stanton is in one of those stretches in which he makes the most difficult game on the planet look easy. That's 18 home runs in 30 games since the All-Star break.
Yep, there's a mountain of money remaining on Stanton's contract -- 10 years and $295 million, unless he opts out after the 2020 season. But that money should be seen in terms of Stanton's overall value to the franchise.
That contract can also be looked at as an investment in credibility, marketing and, oh yes, being competitive. Besides, there's no fair trade value for a player this good. How do you even begin trade discussions? By asking for four prospects? Five? Six?
There's no package that will offer as much as Stanton brings to the table. He has more than talent. He has a good name. He's the baseball player many kids in South Florida grow up imitating.
The Marlins will want their fans to know that there will be no more roster tear-downs. Instead, there'll be decisions based on what's best for winning.
One of the first things Jeter and his group should do is sit down with Stanton and tell him exactly how things are going to be. That this is a new day. That he will be as much a partner as a player.
Jeter played the game a certain way. He sweated the small stuff. His preparation became the gold standard for every player. Here's guessing Jeter will operate the Marlins the same way as chief executive officer (which will be his title if the sale is completed, according to reports). He will want to prove that the second half of his professional life can be as successful as the first.
The Giants are said to be one of the teams that intend to have a conversation with the Marlins about Stanton's availability. He'd also make sense for the St. Louis Cardinals and probably others.
Let's not get caught up in that kind of stuff right now. Instead, let's enjoy the ride Stanton's taking this sport on. His every at-bat has become must-watch television as pitchers try to figure out something that will work against his combination of power and bat quickness.
Nothing is better than watching a great player perform at the highest level and do things for which there are no words. That's where we are with Giancarlo Stanton. Baseball does not get much better.
Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.